Texas Supreme Court to Consider Austin Sick Leave Injunction

The paid sick leave “turbulence in Texas” is soon to be on the Texas Supreme Court docket. The City of Austin is appealing the order enjoining the implementation of its Earned Sick Time Ordinance to the Supreme Court, according to a news report. The Ordinance was passed in February and had been scheduled to be effective on October 1.


In April, a cadre of business interests sued to enjoin the implementation of the ordinance, claiming it violates the state constitution and is preempted by the Texas Minimum Wage Law, which requires employers to pay the federal minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act and does not require employers to pay for time not worked as the Austin PSL ordinance does.  The State of Texas has intervened in support of the minimum wage argument.

In June, a state district court judge, detecting in the case “the aroma of a good political blood fight,” denied the plaintiffs’ request to enjoin implementation of the Ordinance pending the outcome of the legal challenge to it. But last month, the a Texas Court of Appeals  reversed that decision and enjoined the implementation of the Ordinance to maintain the status quo while the legal challenge proceeded. That is the issue the city is appealing.

 The Ordinance requires private sector employers with more than 15 employees to provide employees who work at least 80 hours within the city in a calendar year to accrue PSL at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to 64 hours annually. The yearly accrual cap for employers with up to 15 employees is 48 hours annually.